What is the next phase for film festivals 2020 and beyond? A 24/7 experience is on the horizon. Part I.

It’s been one month since the 13th annual Philadelphia Independent Film Festival (and Festival of Animation) was called off. Since then we have been meeting, researching, discovering, and looking into the crystal ball of what comes next. What can we do? At times it’s been disheartening, encouraging, and liberating. We are watching other festivals flail in their “pivot” while others thrive on not the value of what they are doing, but on the fact, they are simply doing it. We rejected the “do it online” approach and instead have begun to envision a more complex relationship with the filmmaker than we could have imagined. What does this mean?

This means many things, to different people, of course! To us, a festival that seeks out new filmmakers and introduces them to a new audience, it suggests an “always-on” approach that enables filmmakers wherever they are – on-demand. If the goal of a film festival is to help establish the filmmaker through the event and you don’t have an event, then how do you call it a festival? This point is not lost on us.

Film festivals must live in the conscience of the people that are interested in them but most of all must now enable any interested party to take part when they desire. A festival can never sleep. By accepting a film we first need to discover the film. This happens by blind submissions (we do not solicit and it is entered based on the filmmaker interest/research of us) and our activating across the globe in “local” communities. This can happen by direct action (helping fund the local cinema group across the world) or by attending (virtual or in-person) events and screening that we or our colleagues might never have considered in the past. We need to activate in ways that enable interests in film – Independence on demand.

What else? Where do VR and other technologies stand? We’re seeing a generation gap here. Most people will never attend Cannes (we attended in 2006 with a short we produced) but dream of doing it. Why can’t they go online? Thierry Frémaux is very calm when he states a festival is not a festival without human interaction, the red carpet, and other hands-on factors, etc. We are now, slowly, disagreeing with this. Why? Because “younger” people are just fine with it. The understanding of what a film festival is and most importantly, what the filmmaker gets from it, is very different even in the last month. But more important, younger filmmakers are being shaped by “the new normal.” They simply will be OK without the contact sport festivals can be. The point is not that they do not care, it’s that they will accept what is in front of them and when they can, we’ll attend when possible. It’s normal for them when they have no experience in the first place. But most important, they are engaging virtual spaces like no time in history and are shaping the experience of wearing goggles. Would you stand in the room with your favorite filmmaker in VR if you can’t get there in real life? The chances are, yes.

There’s more and we will follow up but let’s end this for the moment here. How will the experience be shaped? What will actually happen? We’ll expand on this in another post but let’s say this – the experience of the film needs to be more than just watching it. The whole story needs to come off the screen and into your head (VR) and expand what we now know is a passive movie experience. This means more storylines to “expand” the reach of the film, not just bloopers or Q&A, but actually experiencing the film from different angles and perspectives – on demand.


Download: Festival #13 Poster 2020 PDF

Reference: Thierry Frémaux talks Cannes 2020 Official Selection plans, saving cinema, and Spike Lee’s return (exclusive)


Festival 12 Early submission deadline has passed. Thank you for the best year – again!

As 2018 slowly fades into the rearview mirror, we are intrigued that, year after year, more and more submissions head our way. Why? Why over the past 4 years have we seen such growth in festival interest, submissions, discussions, etc?

We of course want to believe that we are getting better, year after year, in curating a film festival. But maybe more importantly, we hope to be better at connecting filmmakers with resources and a fertile and ongoing ecosystem for networking and discovery. We hope so. Regular submission deadline is on. Get those films in and let’s continue to show Philadelphia what a true independent film festival is all about.

Let us know what you think. We look forward to the coming 12th annual festival May 8 – 11th, 2019. Want to speak? Contact us with your idea.

Connect! @PhilaIndie or on ROKU by searching PIFF.

See you out there,

The Festival Team

Video feed for Festival #11

Welcome. We’re off to another great year as festival #11 has seen steady submissions and a real interest in the business of film. Our infamous Animation Festival tickets are on sale! Get them here BUY Animation Festival tickets. We have a great program lining up with selections from Iran, the US, Holland, and more already accepted to screen. Tickets are $5 for this special event (that takes place during the annual festival). Thank you to #PRSguitars and Gearstuff.com for your ongoing support.

We are excited to share our festival with everybody and this includes integrating with Philly Tech Week even more. We have been passive about this venture the past few years as we scoped out the possibilities. We feel now we are ready to stand up and show you what we have in mind. Expect our VR efforts to finally come to the front. 🙂

More updates soon. Visit us on Twitter for daily news and discussions @PhilaIndie

See you at the festival!

Philadelphia Festival of Live Arts 2011 at Media Bureau


Thank you to Tel Aviv Actors and Theatre Artists Yael Rasooley, This was clearly the best year we have had and they just seem to be getting better. As artists we can’t thank you enough for working through our kinks and 24 hour days. Shalom!

87 films screened ~ what happened at the 9th Philadelphia Independent Film Festival?

Archive: 5/16

Welcome back! As we work towards festival #10 in May 2017, we are looking forward to demonstrating and discussing what’s next in Independent film. We hope you join us online and in the theater. If you see us out, please say hello. We have been setting up at Dave & Busters at Ken McGregor and John Mitchell’s event. Stop by and say hello. this is a fantastic event and we’re proud to take part! Until then, we’ll see you at the theater.


2017 Update: Festival #10, CoFund360, Excelis Corp, gearstuff.com, and more. #PHLTech #PHLfilm #indiefilmlab #PTW17

Updated: 01222017

As we have been discussing on Twitter, Facebook, and a bit more on Quarom, the eco-system has been seeing interesting activity in Q3, Q4 of 2016 and continuing on in Q1 in 2017. 2017 and 2018 are shaping up to be genuine convergence of technology, information, content, and interaction of culture and data enabled processes.

Update: piffFilms.com. We are taking in submissions regularly as you know. We are excited to continue our work with ECAM, MEAC in Spain, and  to bring independent film to the Tri-State area. 10 years and counting this April 26-31, 2017! Thank you to our Submission review sponsors: PRSguitars, ECAM, MEAC, UltimateRobot88, MBNStudios, and the #UFF Underground Film Forum. #indiefilmlab #PHLfilm #indyfilm @PhilaIndie

Update: gearstuff.com. The site has launched. With more than 78,000 items and growing, we are excited to offer a new way to shop. by combining a true user experience via content demo and integration…




Submissions rolling in for festival #10 – April 26-30, 2017!


, , ,

Get your gear.

Welcome to the show! Festival #10 is seeing the biggest surge in submissions – ever. We are proud to see this happen and can not wait to share our views on the submissions as the year rolls on. You can submit here: Submit to festival #10 for the Early deadline.

Videomaker Magazine

We are planning a lot this year and are looking forward to updating the website (long overdue, we know), officially launch the piffFilms ROKU channel, integrate with #PhillyTechWeek even more, as well as announce partners and other ideas.

Last year’s festival was a huge success for us and we are tracking the success of the films. Check out our Facebook account and our Twitter account for regular updates.

Don’t forget – support ALL film festivals and local screenings! The city is thriving with great options and other interesting things concerning film and it’s related fields including technology. Visit a small studio, show up to a networking event, shout it out via #PHLfilm on Twitter. Get involved. photo

We’ll see you soon! Contact us online by posting a question or a comment. You can stop by the Box Office at 2401 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, PA.

See you out there ~
The team at #piffFilms


Brand (Content) Experiential Engagement

Date: November 9th to December 31st, 2013. 2016.

Subject: Notes. Goldenberg Group Market8 Urban Entertainment Center proposal.

Idea: Quickly enable a Digital Media Strategy (DMS) to gauge and measure project supporters.

Enabling the Eco-system by deploying Experimental engagement.

Enabling the Eco-system via Experiential Engagement.

  • Provide support via phone and Twitter to activate stakeholders and web users.
  • Provide discussion points and insight into current social and digital media trends.

update: no

#:  / #AI #DMS #bigData

@PhilaIndie festival #8 happens and people pack the house. Now what?

Philadelphia Independent Film Festival #8

#piff #uff #PHLfilm

It’s been a few months since the festival partnered with Philly Tech Week #PTW16 and camped out at the University of the Arts. We had never tried to screen in one space and in the spirit of us moving around the city since 2011, we took the task to heart. It was an exciting time for all of us.

The combination of 87 films with yet another fantastic and enthusiastic crowd showed Philadelphia and the world that the Independent film is alive and well. We are proud to have screened films from as far away as the Middle East (Iran and Israel), Italy, Montenegro, UK, Spain, Holland, all over the United States and much more. We produced multiple live webcasts that drew more people than attended the festival live. Our on going (circa. 1997) discussion of our (human) relationship with digital media continues to push the envelope. Local Independent film is thriving and will always be well represented at the festival.

It was great to see so many new faces. It shows the #PHL film community is much, much larger than anybody knows. We are proud to be part of and contribute regularly to the ever evolving landscape in Philadelphia film for almost 20 years. We support the #PHLfilm creative and business community and so should you!

Corzo Center for the Creative Economy Philadelphia Art Alliance What’s next for us? We plan to continue our UArts, Philadelphia Art Alliance and or Philly Nexus events where we discuss and introduce new and evolving artists, filmmakers, tech heads and people who want to discuss the current memes. We’ll continue to do these events and focus on working with local filmmakers to premier local films. The UArts Gershmon Y and the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy are fantastic venues to premier films. The Gershmon Y has a 600 seat capacity theater with some of the best projection the city has to offer.  We feel honored to present at such venues with such talented people.

Thank you again for continuing to make our festival such a success. We hope the past 9 years have shown our dedication to the craft as a craft and we look forward to seeing you out, online and buying tickets to all screenings (that’s all festivals people) through out the year and for many years to come. If you see an independent shoot on the streets of Philadelphia, buy the set some joe from a local shop. They’ll love you back for sure!

Feel free to contact us or interact with us online where we are active daily.



Yours in the arts,
Benjamin Barnett, Festival Director #piff

2014 in review … Media Bureau

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,900 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.